For one thing, the town is very much busier than when I first visited. Today, tens of thousands of tourists visit the town every day and this relatively quiet village has morphed into a very busy city.
The other noticeable change has been the preferred method of local transport. Since I was here last, the tuktuk has become popular.
These are not the type of tuktuks that you encounter in Thailand. Cambodian tuktuks are totally original.
It starts off with the ubiquitous motorbike, the common mode of personal transport for most Cambodian families.
Attached to the motorbike is a type of small horse cart. In fact, it is more like a donkey cart. Atop a small frame are two facing bench seats, which is covered by a flimsy roof. This contraption is then fastened to the motorbike so that you have a tuktuk.
The tuktuks are designed for Cambodians, who tend to be small. I am rather large, so it took me a while to master mounting and dismounting in an elegant fashion, although I never managed to look elegant, no matter how hard I tried.
To ride in a tuktuk is sheer joy. Siem Reap can be hot and humid, but when you are racing around sequestered inside a tuktuk your journey is made more comfortable by the cool breeze you feel as you travel. If there are road rules in Cambodia governing the use of motorbikes, I could never fathom them. Apparently, motorbikes can do as they like, such as driving on the wrong side of the road, and zipping down footpaths.
Tuktuks are the same. It sometimes may take a while for your driver to get you onto the correct side of the road, but you do eventually get there.
I toured the various Angkor Wat temples by tuktuk, and had a ball. It was a great way to zip around Siem Reap, and they can get much closer to an attraction than the large coaches that many people travel in.
It doesn’t take long to get used to the tuktuk, although Siem Reap roads are full of potholes, and negotiating them can get a bit jarring. Still, riding a tuktuk is a great adventure.
Many visitors choose to hop on the back of a motorbike because it is cheaper. For me, the tuktuk rides were adventurous, and comfortable. You could survey the landscape and enjoy the breeze simultaneously. The airport run was easy. They just tie your luggage to the front of the carriage, and it sits there safe and sound until you arrive at your destination.
The Siem Reap tuktuk, I thoroughly recommend them.